Laserablation-ICP-MS

The principle behind LA-ICP-MS (Laser Ablation - Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry) involves a laser beam removing (ablating) material from a sample and analysing its chemical composition in a mass spectrometer.

The diameter of the laser beam is typically between 10-100 µm (in comparison, the average diameter of human hair is 50-100 µm). This complicates finding a suitable reference material. Commonly used reference materials for LA-ICP-MS are natural or synthetic glasses. These glasses are not matrix-matched in regard to natural samples. This can cause inaccurate results. Unfortunately, natural samples are seldom homogeneous and can rarely be used as reference materials.

By taking a natural mineral and processing it, we are able to re-homogenise it, making it suitable as an reference material for LA-ICP-MS.

Fig. 1. Line of LA-ICP-MS  spot analyses along a natural apatite crystal showing the inhomogenous distribution of rare earth elements (REE - La-Yb top to bottom) within the mineral.
Fig. 1. Line of LA-ICP-MS spot analyses along a natural apatite crystal showing the inhomogenous distribution of rare earth elements (REE - La-Yb top to bottom) within the mineral.
Fig. 2 Line of LA-ICP-MS  spot analyses along an apatite  nano-pellet showing the homogenised distribution of REE.
Fig. 2 Line of LA-ICP-MS spot analyses along an apatite nano-pellet showing the homogenised distribution of REE.

The images show a comparison of a line of LA-ICP-MS analyses along a natural crystal (apatite) and a nano-pellet made from the same batch of crystals. The superior homogeneity of the nano-pellet is evident.

Our pellets for LA-ICP-MS applications are available as 5 and 13 mm pellets. If needed with suitable sample holders The quantitative multi-element analysis calibrated with our nano pellets are applicalbe to a large variety of fields ranging from climate to ore deposit reseach.

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